September 11 Digital Archive

Tony Wang

Title

Tony Wang

Source

transcription

Media Type

interview

Chinatown Interview: Interviewee

Tony Wang

Chinatown Interview: Interviewer

Lan Trinh

Chinatown Interview: Date

2004-04-01

Chinatown Interview: Language

English

Chinatown Interview: Occupation

Sino Broadcast

Chinatown Interview: Interview (en)

Q: Well, today is April 1st, 2004. I’m sitting in the office of Tony Wong, here at Sino Television on Broadway. Tony, let’s start off in the present. Tell us a little bit about what Sino television is and what you do here.

Wong: Well, Sino Television has been in operations for the past six years. We started off in Flushing, Queens, actually. First we started on one channel, Channel 78. It’s a 24/7 Chinese language TV station. Then, after two years, when Time Warner roll out its digital platform, we were given two more channels, and they’re all on digital format. So right now we move our operation back to Manhattan, because we have a radio station here as well, also in Chinese language.

By locating these two properties here, we thought that we could utilize our resources better and serve our Chinese public better.

Q: Okay. Well, we’re going to have plenty of time to talk more about your work and the role that I know Sino Television has played in the Chinese community. But first, we want to learn about you, as an individual. Have you always been interested in media? What was your background?

Wong: Yeah, I have always been interested in the media. First of all, I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. I came here to study broadcasting. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Eastern Washington State University in the West Coast, and I came here for my graduate study. And I was very, very fortunate that right after graduation I found a job with WNBC, Channel 4. And I spent a lot of years at NBC, and I have never taken up any other professions, other than in communications. It was either in television or on radio, or in marketing in the media.

Q: And what year was it when you first arrived in America?

Wong: I arrived here, I believe it was September 1st, 1971.

Q: Wow. A long time ago. [laughter] And did you have relatives in America?

Wong: No, no, no. I didn’t. I had, actually, no. I went to a very small town, Spokane Washington. I didn’t know a single soul. But I was very, very, fortunate. You know, I had a college professor that didn’t know me but they were very kind people and they played as a host family, and so when I first came here, I stayed with him, and he was also in the business as well. He was a professor teaching journalism, but he was also a local anchor person at a local TV station. So, I can say that personally and professionally I’ve been involved with the media almost all my entire life in the States.

Q: So when you were in Hong Kong, now, were your family always in Hong Kong, or did they come from China, or elsewhere?

Wong: My families were always in Hong Kong, yeah. Even my parents, they, as far as I know, they claimed they were born in Hong Kong.

Q: And you didn’t have British citizenship?

Wong: At that time, I had a British passport. But whether that is considered a British citizenship, I don’t know. I think, shortly after I got married here, I and my wife traveled to London, I was still holding a British passport, and I believe I still had to apply for a visa to get into London. So I don’t think that is a British citizenship.

Q: And you didn’t consider going to school in England instead of America?

Wong: Well, not that I didn’t want to, I think at that time the general consensus was that going to England was too expensive. And I grew up in a very poor family. I mean, the fact that I could come here was a miracle itself. I was able to find a college that even for out of state students I think at that time it was like three thousand dollars, everything included, room and board and college tuition. So, it’s a matter of necessity rather than preference. If you ask me what would I have prefer, I probably at that time, I probably would have said London because I think a degree from England was worth more than a degree from the United States, you know.

Q: And what did your family do in Hong Kong?

Wong: My mother---my father pass away when I was eight years old. My mother had four children. My mother owned a vegetable store, like a stand. I basically grew up on the street there.

Q: So very working class.

Wong: Very. Very. Extremely. Yeah.

Q: And when you decided to come to America, did you know already you wanted to pursue a career in media?

Wong: Yes, Absolutely. First of all, I always [coughs], even when I was a kid, I always dream of going abroad, you know, and the fact that I wanted to go into the media is because at that time I wanted to be a camera person, that maybe I can afford to travel to different parts of the world, and go either photo shooting or movie shooting, but I never get a chance to do that. But I’m doing something that is related to production.

Q: But Hong Kong in the ‘70s, as far as television, only has several networks---

Wong: Only one. TVB.

Q:---TVB. And like---

Wong: I don’t even, at that time I don’t think TVB, no---

Q: ATV didn’t exist yet?

Wong: No, ATV didn’t exist. I think it was just TVB. Like any kid, I thought that when I finish my study here then I would go back and be a “big time” director or whatever, you know, but life takes on different turns.

Q: Did your mother encourage you to pursue this line of profession?

Wong: No, not really. No. I think my mother was too busy to, you know, not that she didn’t take care of us. I think she tried very hard to take care of us. She worked very hard to support the family, and so a lot of decision was really left with us. I picked a school, I make my, whatever arrangement, you know. But she didn’t think that it was necessary for me to go away. She felt that there are always opportunities if I really work on it. You know, even back in Hong Kong, if I wanted to do something, if I really put my mind to it, I can still make it.

But then, I have a different agenda. I think that learning something is one thing, but to travel to another part of the world and really experience it is another. And I think I made a very good choice.

Q: How did you support yourself? I mean, three thousand is nothing in today’s world, but in 1971---

Wong: It was still quite a lot of money. I think in the first year, before I came, my uncle, my mother’s brother, actually, he kind of support me initially. And once I got here, I immediately took a job as a dishwasher at college, and then I think after six months or so, I took another job working at the library, in addition to being a dishwasher. Then at night, after being a dishwasher at the cafeteria at college, then at night I would take maybe two or three nights a week I would work at a local restaurant to be a dishwasher again.

And then, in the summer, I work as a farmer. Then I like, working for Green Giants, Del Monte, you know, picking peas and things like that.

Q: So ’71, as a Chinese---and you spoke English when you came to America?

Wong: Yes, yes.

Q: But Spokane, Washington, is not, is not a---

Wong: It’s quite a culture shock. Because that, you know, in movies or in magazine or newspaper, you always think of United States as New York City. So when you got off the plane, go to a place where, you know, you don’t see any sky scrappers and it’s flatland, it’s farming, so you know, it’s quite a culture shock. You know, you’re there, oh, this is the United States. You know, “am I in the wrong place?” I think, you know, Hong Kong is much more sophisticated, much more advanced than the United States. But that’s what I meant, you know. That you could learn only so much from textbooks, movies, or whatever. You have to visit the place and really experience it.

Q: Did you have a hard time assimilating?

Wong; No. Because I really like, even when I was kid before I came here, I liked Western music, Western movies, I had no problem assimilating, at all. But of course there are things I don’t know, like slang that people use, I wouldn’t---I cannot tell the difference. I wouldn’t know the meaning. But in generic terms, I don’t think I had a tough time fitting in. I fit in pretty well.

Q: And you pursue a degree in what, now?

Wong: In broadcasting. Radio and television.

Q: For four years, after that, and you got your first job as what?

Wong: No, actually, no. Four years I, I finished in three years. When I came I was already a second year student because the educational system is different, the British system and the American system is different. After high school, in Hong Kong, I went to two additional year as quote and unquote, like a, in Hong Kong that’s considered like pre-college classes. So when the student from Hong Kong come here, the American colleges already recognize that that’s equal to one year’s worth of credits, or whatever.

So when I came, I was second year already, and I finish in three years, and then I want to go to graduate school and I was accepted by Kansas, Syracuse or New York City. My professor told me that if you are going to pursue a career in television, there are two places. Either you go to Los Angeles, or you go to New York, and I was already in West Coast for three years, so that’s why I came to the East Coast. And then I did two years in Brooklyn College. Right after I graduate, I got a job at WNBC.

Q: As what?

Wong: As an on-air promotion coordinator. Then, I moved pretty fast, actually. I spent less than two years, no, I spent a year there, and then I moved to another area called “sales traffic,” spent two years, I was made manager of the department. But that really is not the area that I want to pursue.

Then, after two years there, I landed a job at the network, you know, to be a on-air operation manager, and that’s where I really get to see what television is all about.

[cross talk]

Q: It seems you were moving up the corporate side of television, not so much the creative side.

Wong: Correct, yes.

Q: But what happened to your dreams of becoming a director---

Wong: [laughs]. No, and again, you know, I guess it is fate. Then I got a call from a schoolmate, not a classmate, he was two year senior than I was in Brooklyn College. Asked me if I were interested in making a little money shooting commercial. I said, sure, why not. And so I, as a production assistant, we were doing commercial in Chinatown for the owner of Sino Television. At that time, he already put programming on Manhattan Cable, you know, that’s back in ’74, ’75, a couple of hours a night. So, and that’s how, I---the connection was made to my current employer.

After that, then he started a television station, not a full-time, like, 12 hours a day. But it is on the ITFS system. It’s on microwave. But it was quite an elaborate set up. We have a studio in this building, on the first floor, and I got to do production, okay. But if I had to back track a little bit, while I was working at the corporate management side at NBC, because we were in management, and during strike or whatever, then we have to fill these jobs. If there were a neighbor’s strike, the tape operator is not working on a camera, people are not working, or if there’s a director’s strike, and then the management have to fill in the job. So I got my training, doing directing job, I got my training doing camera work, so, and I use those training and do it in Chinese language here. It seems that it worked out perfectly. I made my money during the day and then at night I got to produce news program in Chinese. I got to do some magazine type format shows, where we interview accomplish Chinese residents here in the city.

So, I got a lot of job satisfaction out of that. That’s the creative side. But now it’s different. I’m in a very good position where I and the people that work with me, can work together, and we can design studios, design the equipment, pick out equipment that we want to use, and we also work together and try to see what kind of programs that we want to produce and serve the public better.

So, it’s fun. It’s very hard work, it’s very difficult, but it’s fun.

Q: I want to take you back a little bit again. Now, at what point did you decide, “I’m going to stay in America, I’m not going to go back to Hong Kong and work for TVB.”

Wong: At which---[laughs]---Ah, I, you bring up a very good question. I---even though when I was working for Channel 4, I went back to Hong Kong from time to time. I had many, many talks with TVB, talking to different level. Never came to term.

I just feel that it was too much to give up, and it’s too much a risk. Plus I was getting older, I have children here, where their welfare is my concern, and I’d like them to go to school here and all that.

Q: ---in this profession. Do you think that you could climb as high in this country as, say, a foreigner in Hong Kong could?

Wong: It depends on which area. There are accomplished, very accomplished Chinese broadcasters in this country. I mean, my boss, the owner of this company. This company ranked I think number 25 as a group owner in this country. For a Chinese, I think it’s well accomplished. There’s another fellow, John See, the head guy for Encore, plus there are some accomplished broadcasters in the writing field, for instance, scriptwriter, you know, that may be difficult. Director, we have accomplished Chinese director making to Hollywood now.

It’s much, much, easier, nowadays, than when I was just graduating from college. In those days it may be difficult. Nowadays I think it’s much, much easier. Not that it is a piece a cake, I don’t think so. But certainly it is a lot easier. I think, well, if you talk about discriminations, there is always going to be, it just depend on how you’re going to take care of it.

Q: At what point did you join Sino on a full-time basis?

Wong: Well, actually, I joined Sino a little more than six years ago.

Q: Oh, okay, so there was a lot of time between NBC and this---

Wong: Yeah, there were, there were, when I left NBC, then I, landed a job at a Hispanic, Spanish language educational station. It was a start up operation, and the, the guy sold me the job because he brought up two points, he said, “Well, you have managed in an English language environment, you have managed a Chinese stations, now it’s a Spanish language, it’s a good challenge for you.” And I think he was right. I don’t speak Spanish, but I did it for him. I helped him do the start up, and I worked there for a few years.

Then, after that, I was involved in the radio business, you know, I team up with a partner and we build a radio station in New Jersey. That took me a couple of years. After we built it, we sold it, and that’s the time I start working for Sino TV.

Q: And you came in as what, at the beginning, at Sino?

Wong: At Sino? The general manager for the TV station. Because I work for them before as a part-time, you know, when I was working for NBC. They know I can deliver, they know my work style, they know how I work.

Q: How is this station funded?

Q: This is a privately owned---

Wong: It is a privately owned. We have no, we have no affiliation with any organization, any companies. It’s privately owned, and it’s strictly commercial broadcasting. There’s no political overtone, there’s no propaganda, it’s strictly broadcasting. And the owner is also an American-educated person. He graduated from Syracuse.

Q: He is Chinese, yes?

Wong: He is Chinese. You know, I think we more or less have the same dream, doing things that we want to do. Except that he is a business person.

Q: And where is Sino seen?

Wong: In the city.

Q: In the Tri-State Area?

Wong: Not in the Tri-State, in New York City, and also in part of New Jersey, well, yeah, part of New Jersey, like north Bergen County, along the Hudson River, and Staten Island, all the five boroughs of New York City, plus Mount Vernon and Westchester County.

Q: So you’re not at all seen on the West Coast?

Wong: Not yet, not yet. But we’re getting there. Very close, very close. I think we, if we can get our act together, I think we can be up and running in a month or two.

Q: At the moment, it’s a 24-hour running channel?

Wong: Yes. Yes.

Q: And what kind of programs and languages do you broadcast in?

Wong: Well, we have three channels. One analogue channel and two digital channels. One digital channel is for movies, 24 hours movie channel. And that movie channel has movies from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. But in addition to that, I think we are the only movie channel airing Hollywood movies in Chinese language. I think we’re the only one in the country.

Q: With subtitles, or voice over?

Wong: Voice over. Dubbed in Chinese. And so, then the other channels, we have news, we have drama, we have public affair programs, education programs. These programs are from China, from Taiwan, and also from Hong Kong.

Q: How much is produced here, in New York City?

Wong: Here, in New York City, on a daily basis, we produce one hour Mandarin news, half hour Cantonese news. On a weekly basis, we have one financial program, taped at Wall Street, then another public affair program, it’s a talk show, interviewing accomplished Chinese in the community.

Q: So all of the shows are in either Cantonese or Mandarin, is that right?

Wong: Right. And some of the shows, they are in dual audio channel, SEP, meaning that the people at home, then can press the SEP button, they can either pick the Mandarin language or the Chinese dialect.

Q: You said earlier that Sino TV doesn’t have any political agenda. From what I’ve seen in Chinatown, it seems almost impossible for any organization, any Chinese organization to not have a preference, meaning leaning toward either China or Taiwan, something, there are, like for example, are your broadcasters, your on-air people, are they mainly from China, are they from Taiwan, from Hong Kong, everywhere?

Wong: Yeah, they’re everywhere. They’re everywhere. And I can, if you look at our program schedule, we have a number of hours of programming from CCTV, which is from China, we have a number of hours of programs from Taiwan. As a matter of fact, we have less programming from Hong Kong, and that’s not by design, that’s because of the financial burden. It’s more expensive to import programming from Hong Kong. We have a satellite dish here looking at CCTV on a 24-hour basis, any program that we want to use, we just pass it out. The same with the Taiwan.

We want to have a philosophy that we are the liaison between the public and the world. The world means the mainstream society here. The world means Hong Kong and China, and Hong Kong, so that they can keep in touch with what’s happening in their homeland.

You know, with a 24/7 type of operation, I think we have plenty of opportunity to present different views, you know, for people, I mean, they make their preference, and we just want to present it.

Q: But there’s no regulation, or pressure of any kind [cross talk]---

Wong: No, no, no. As a matter of fact, we’re on cable. If it’s just a regular UHF or VHF, we need a license or something like that, but this is on a cable channel. The cable operators are not giving us any type of sponsor, censorship. But it’s just that our principal, we want to be able to not only to entertain, but to educate and inform the public. And I think it’s very, very important. You know, you mentioned in the community, there are people leaning left, right, and sometimes, when you have an agenda, you may not present a very balanced point of view, and we want to be in a position, or at least we try to be in a position that we can offer different viewpoints, so that people can make their educated decision.

Q: Sino Television I know is not the only Chinese broadcaster in New York City. There is several dozen others. What differentiates you from the other broadcasters, and are you the leader? I mean, are you the biggest?

Wong: Well, I think that’s up for other people to decide, but I think the difference is we are very independent, and local. There are other Chinese services, you are right, but they have affiliation with Hong Kong. Either their mother company is in Hong Kong, or in China. Then there are other services that are not full time. But we operate our channel, as I said, just like a commercial broadcasting station. It is strictly from the view point of what kind of programming we can provide to the public, in order to generate commercial advertising, in order to generate subscribers, because that’s where we get our funding, so we run things quite different from other Chinese television services.

Q: Do you think part of your role is to be kind of a bridge between the Chinese community to the mainstream American community in any way?

Wong: Personally, I hope so, and I think from the business point of view, we hope so. I think that is the key to the success. We serve a public, or a group of people that may have language problem, they may not be watching CNN, they may not be watching FOX News, and I think we would like to be in a position to bridge that gap, to make them aware of what’s happening in this country, what’s happening in New York City.

And we also serve a group of people who watch, or who understand the language who may be watching CNN or may be watching MSNBC, but they want to find out what is happening in China, or Taiwan. They may read the New York Times about the Taiwan election but, to hear a different point of view from a news coming from Taiwan, I am sure it will present them with a different perspective.

And I think in that sense, I really think that we serve as a liaison, or a bridge, not only to the public who have a language problem. We want to serve the entire Chinese public that, you know, to the mainstream society and also to their homeland.

Q: So on the topic of language barrier, we know that a lot of people in Chinatown, because they don’t speak English, have a lot of problem assimilating to mainstream America. But even not mentioning those, we also know that in the last ten years, the Fujianese community has been the fastest growing. But yet, your station only, and all your programs, both television and radio, only broadcast in Cantonese and Mandarin. I don’t have the exact numbers, but what happened? Well, who is serving the Fujianese community? Where are they going to get their information, if they don’t speak English, they don’t speak Mandarin, they don’t speak Chinese, and I think a lot of them can’t even read, because they are from the rural areas. So where are they going to get information?

Wong: Well, I don’t know your assertion is right. You bring out a very good point. We tried to, at one time, you know, having the same thought that you have, tried to find Fukinese radio personality to do, let’s say, a three hours program at night. And the response that I receive, that because the Fukianese, they speak Mandarin. They don’t necessarily have to be listening to Fukianese language. So I think, when you look at this, I think, down the road, I really don’t see that much a deal. I think it’s more and more geared toward Mandarin, rather than Toisanese, or Cantonese. Right now, yes, there’s still a sizable Cantonese-speaking group here, but I think eventually, I think it’s going to be mixed.

Our Cantonese stations, there are a lot of Mandarin-speaking listeners. They call up, they ask, can we speak Mandarin, and we say, yes, by all means. And they’ll give their viewpoints in Mandarin, they will ask questions in Mandarin.

Q: As you know, that’s not reality, because Chinatown is very much divided in that way. There really isn’t one language that really unites everybody.

Wong: But isn’t that the problem, though?

Q: That is the problem, and I have heard from different people in the Fujianese community that say that they are very isolated, because so much of Chinatown is not servicing them, you know, as a result they as a community need to build so many things for themselves, because there is not much for them in Chinatown, because of the language barrier.

Wong: Well, I don’t know. I think we should look at it as the services for all Chinese rather than one special group.

Q: Do you think Chinatown as a community is a united community, because we’re all Chinese?

Wong: Well, as a whole, I would say, yes. As a whole, I would say that they are making progress. Look at Chinatown, after 911 the business may suffer a little bit, but as a whole, I think it is still very prosperous, certainly better than when I first came to New York, so you mentioned something that, there are groups that build up certain things to ascertain the need.

Whether I agree with it or not, I think it is a positive thing. At least people are doing something .You know Chinese, they are very, traditionally they are very passive. And now, if they recognize a problem, they are doing something about it, I think it is pointing at the right direction.

Q; So let’s talk about, you mentioned 911. You are located at 449 Broadway, which is just about a block from Chinatown and not so far from Ground Zero. How has that event impacted this business, or your role as a community broadcaster?

Wong: Well, I have to say that I really, nobody would like to see another incident like 911. But that happening, ironically kind of put us on the map. We launched the radio station, the Chinese language station, I think a few months prior to 911, and when it happened, as you mentioned, because of the proximity, you know, we see what happened, and fortunately, our transmitter were not affected. We were on the air. We give out information, we tell people what happened, and we play a very, very, important role during that period of time, because, you know, at one time I think there wasn’t any, even newspaper. People don’t know what to do, so we have people practically calling up, you know, my son is in school, you think that he can come, what train will he be taking, and what can be done, what can I do?

So, you asked earlier, whether I see that Chinatown is united. I think if it is not united, I think it certainly has made substantial improvements towards that direction. Not only do we play the direct role or the principal role in giving out information, but the people themselves, the public themselves, you know, when they hear questions, if we don’t know the answer, they will call up and give out the information. And I think in the old days you don’t see this type of thing happen. It wouldn’t.

Q: You mean Chinese people participating in that way?

Wong: Yeah, right, I mean, actively participating in the process. You know, for example, we announced on the air that if you have gloves, if you have water, the fire company they need this material, or police precinct, they need these items and all that. Then, they would go there and donate this material. And while we are still giving out these public service announcements, then an audience, a listener would call up and say, “Oh, I’ve just been to Fire Company XYZ, they don’t need gloves anymore, they got plenty of them. You should donate it to another company.” So they themselves really take part into the whole process, and they would not sit back and let other people do it. And I think for Chinese, I think that was really a giant step forward, ‘cause in the old days, you know, everybody just doing things for themselves, they don’t care what other peoples are doing.

But in this instance, they really did a terrific job. Our radio personalities were on the air day and night, and we have Chinese restaurants they prepare their food and they brought it up for us. They also would ask us to help them to deliver food to the police, to the police precinct or the police headquarter, ‘cause they really wanted to help. And then they felt that they are part of the society. And that’s something that in my 30-some years here, I have never seen that until that time. I was really, really, very impressed. And yes, a lot of people give us credit for doing a fundraising, and raise so much money, but I think the credit should really be going back to the people in the community.

I mean, they made a point that they wanted to demonstrate that they cared. ‘Cause a lot of people say, “Ah, the Chinese, they come here, they make the money, they go home and retire,” and all that. But they made it a point to show that they care, they are part of the society and they want to be very united, and they want to tell the mainstream that they are united. And I think that that is a very strong message.

Q: There’s something else that you’re talking about, donations and money. I think you’re being modest. Your station actually collected over a million dollars, which is something that---

Wong: Yeah, 1.45 million---

Q: Which is completely unprecedented in this community---

Wong: Absolutely---

Q: How did that happen? Who initiated this, how did that happen?

Wong: Well, my boss always gave me credit, that I initiated it. No, it’s not. I think the ones that, who initiated it was really the people in the community, and they call us up, you know, a lot of people call up the station and say, you know, we want to do something, I want to write a check, I want to donate money, where do I send this check, and we always educated them. You know, “You just write, Red Cross.” But for some people, even writing “Red Cross” would be a problem. They don’t know how to spell “Red.” You ask them to write a whole address, it would be very, very difficult. And then they said, “Can we just bring the check to the station, and you write it for us.”

Q: Bring you cash, and then they---

Wong: No. They said, “Well, I don’t know how to write, can I bring the check to your station, you write it for us?” Yes, for one or two, yes, it’s okay, but, you know, and then we get a lot of requests. Then somebody would say, “Can we just give you the money? You write it, you send it. We trust you. You do it.”

So, we did fundraising before. Our company did some fundraising before in the community, and it had been successful as well, but we hate to do that, because no matter how you do it, people always suspect that you take portion of the money, you know---

Q: There’s corruption involved somewhere---

Wong: Yeah, into your own pocket or whatever. That’s why we really didn’t want to do it. But the request was really, really, overwhelming. And then, I convinced my boss that, you know, we really have to do something, because if there were five phone calls, four would be asking us to do this type of thing. So then we say, “Okay, we’ll do it, you can send cash, or you can walk to the station, we’ll give you a receipt right away, we are not going to take your money.” And when we first started we thought that hey, the most maybe fifty-thousand, a hundred thousand. I think the first couple of days we already reached over a hundred, like two hundred thousand, something like that. And the momentum just kept on going. It just kept on going. And then, when it gets to a million, then people will call up and give us credit and say, “Oh, your station is doing great, we really support your station, without your station we don’t know what we would have done, you know, how we could have functioned, let’s do it for, let’s do it and reach the number to 1430. At that time our call letter, you know, our frequency was 1430.

And, so, they did it. They just keep on writing check and keep on coming, and we really-- -at 1430 we stop, we say that, no more, we’re finished, we’ll take this money and we’ll donate it to the World Trade Center Fund and also to the Red Cross. But there was some money that was already in the mail. That’s why it was 1.45 million dollars. [laughs].

But that is, you were talking about unity. I think that really demonstrates that if the Chinese want to show their unity they could do it. They really could do it. A lot of people give us credit for it, we receive a lot of awards for it, but I really, each time if I have to give a thank you speech, I really think that the credit really should be the people in the community, cause they never did anything like before. Never.

Q: But, this outpour of generosity, which is surprising, as you said for Chinese people, because a lot of times they just look after themselves---

Wong: Right, exactly.

Q: But do you think, in part, that’s because the location of Chinatown was so near Ground Zero that in same way Chinatown was kind of attacked, the effects of it. If this had happened, say in Harlem, do you think the Chinese community would have reacted the way they did?

Wong: Well, it was a tragedy. And I think the magnitude of the incident was so great that yes they would have done it. To this extreme, I think you have a point, because of the proximity, they would feel more, the impact, they would feel a lot more, because they’re here, they see it, they smell it. I mean, you, I don’t know where you were, for a month we were here. It was horrible smell, horrible.

Q: Let’s stop there and we have to change tapes.

Wong: Okay.

Q: So you were talking about this, sort of surprising unity the Chinese people show in the aftermath of September 11th. So as a broadcaster, I mean, obviously you saw that people truly trusted you and looked towards you as a reliable source of information, because every station, every network, everybody was showing the same event, and this many people tune into you. What do you think, you know, why are you in that position, where people came to you, when they didn’t go to another one of the Chinese stations and donated this much money?

Wong: Well, I could think of a couple of reasons. I think number one is that we have been in the community for more than twenty-six years, so I think we have the grassroots Chinese public support. I think that’s number one. I think number two is really the power of the medium that you can reach out to so many people, and whatever you say is immediate. And during that time, where they cannot understand the mainstream reports, there were no newspaper, ah, transportation, if they live in Queens they cannot come out, if they live in Brooklyn they cannot come out. Even if they live in Chinatown, they may have difficulty getting through different streets, and we more or less became their friend. And when you can provide information, when you become their companion day and night, then that certainly build up that trust. And when they come here, they see that it’s a legitimate operation, you know, and it’s the word of mouth. And that’s how we build the trust.

And I think building the trust is through the way we present ourselves. With our programming, with our coverage, we did, I think we did a very, very good job. It was day and night. Even our DJ, they knew it, ‘cause they heard the same voice. It was almost 24 hours without interruption. And that was something that they never had experience with. Because in the past, you may listen to a program, and you turn it off, or another DJ come on, but this, on the 24-hour basis, it’s the same group of DJs that going to be there. And some of our DJs are touched, you know, even cry on the air, and we also interview people, family of the victims, they were here, we interviewed them. It make such a strong impact to the listeners.

So, that’s why we earned their trust.

Q: You think Chinatown was under-covered in the mainstream media, given how close it is to Ground Zero, and as a community where there’s actually a lot of residents---

Wong: Oh, yeah, absolutely, in my opinion, yes. No---we raised 1.45 million, right? Yes, we got a lot of coverage, but I can even quote you an example. I don’t have it now, but I think on a daily basis, during that time, during that period of time, if somebody gave us sixty thousand dollars charity they may have their photos and a big space on the newspaper. But we got our space, but not as prominent as, you know, other groups.

Q: Do you think that’s because the Asian community doesn’t have a leader? Chinatown doesn’t really have a distinct leader to represent the community in incidences like this, to stand out, and----

Wong: [laughs] Well, I think historically, as a group, we have never been very vocal. As a group, we have not been very---I’m not talking about leader or no leader, but as a group, we have not been very vocal. We did not, we were not very active in participating in the political process.

Q: So you said that 9/11 has put your organization on the map in some way, and I know that you presented Mayor Giuliani with the check ---

Wong: Right.

Q: --- at City Hall, so with all that exposure, what has that meant? How has that resulted in anything, a change in programming, or the way you see your responsibility in the community? Has it resulted in any change, this event?

Wong: Well, I think, as I said, it put us on the map. I think it makes us, selling our commercial time easier, in the community. But it just reinforce the fact that we have to ascertain the community needs in our programming, and I think that’s very important. I always advocate for providing a forum for the public to voice their each opinion, to discuss issues, on our radio, and I think we did a very good job on that.

Q: So if the Chinese community could come together during this 911 tragedy, you know, two years, more than two years have passed now, do you think that brief unity has resulted in positive changes in Chinatown? Do you think people, different groups talk to each other more, or there is more work towards rebuilding Chinatown together? Or everybody went back, to their own separate places after this event?

Wong: Well, I never, I never pay attention to what different groups are doing, so I really cannot answer that question, but I think it does show that the incident, or that time demonstrate that Chinese as a group, if they want to do something, they can unite and do something and achieve whatever goal they set out to do. Now, whether leadership, whether there’s a group that want to lead or has demonstrated that they want to lead, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t pay attention to local politics that much, but I am just very proud of the fact---and it changed my perspective. It really has changed my perspective. I’ve been here for so long now, and that really has demonstrated that---you know, I never thought that Chinese would pay that much attention to what’s around them. Chinese always, you know, they make sure that their children get good education, they make sure that they have enough money in the bank to put food on table and pay rent and all that.

But I think now, they have become more aware of events that happen around them. And I think that’s very positive.

Q: So does your station do, have you done more public announcement, or increased programs to educate the Chinese community?

Wong: Yes, we are. As a matter of fact, earlier I mentioned about political process. I think voter registration. A lot of people, they don’t understand the power of having the right to vote. So we want to encourage people to register. I think several weeks ago we had an event here---we have a magazine we publish, a weekly magazine. It’s a very popular magazine. And each Saturday there are people coming to pick up the magazine. And one Saturday we started the voter registration. And on one, on a three hours period, we registered close to two hundred people.

Now, two hundred people may sound a very small number, but when you figure in that most of the people, I shouldn’t say most---some of the people, they may not be resident. Some of the people may not even, you know, have legal status. Okay, so when you can sign up two hundred people that have the qualifications to vote, that’s a huge number in a three hours period. And we intend to do more, between now and the election. And I think that really would bring the awareness to people, that if they want to do something, if they want to get the kind of benefits that they want, or that will affect their children or whatever, voting is a very powerful tool. And we hope that we can achieve that.

Q: So as a whole station, where are you leading your team for the future? What more can Sino Television do?

Wong: If---[laughs]---I tell you, if I can achieve, by providing entertainment, and educating the public, and become a bridge between the Chinese community and the mainstream community, I think I have achieved it, and I have done a very good job. And that is a constant process. I mean, you cannot stop. Entertainment, yes, you can upgrade a program, you can import whatever program. But to really ascertain the community needs, you have to really pick out special issues, social issues, focus on current events, government program, they may make an impact to the Chinese-American way of life.

I think it’s very important for us to really, on one hand, bring awareness to the Chinese public, and on the other, to provide a forum for them to air their opinion. It’s almost an outlet to them.

Q: For their life in America.

Wong: Right. For example, we had our grand opening of our television facility here two weeks ago, and the Manhattan borough president came and do the ribbon cutting. And subsequent to that I wrote her a letter and thank her for her participation. At the same time I asked to do a weekly program with her, or even a monthly program, as the borough president. That is what I meant, a liaison, between the community here---

Q: You’re trying to get Chinese more involved.

Wong: More involved, and they’re, I think little things, you know, sometimes they may feel, like you say, they may, certain group may feel isolated. I think as a group Chinese sometimes they may feel that they are isolated. They may not know how come, you know, I park this car here, how come I got a ticket. They may have that. How come I have to pay for the, the getting rid of the tree in front of my house.

But if you put a public official, and answer the question, these type of question, they, it bring it closer to the mainstream society. They feel that, ah, they pay attention to us. And that’s the kind of role that we want to provide.

Q: And is there any goal to take your station nationally, so that it can be seen all over America?

Wong: We hope so, but that is a business decision. I think the success of a station, like I said earlier, is really based on local presence, and doing nationally, I think from the entertainment point of view, it may be good, but in terms of different communities, you still have to have local presence there. And that will be a challenge when we go national.

Q: And do you plan to stick around for this challenge? You’re going to stay with this company?

Wong: [laughs]. I don’t know. I think it’s fun. But I think there are a lot of people who work here, they know my philosophy. And we are working towards that goal, whether I’m here or not, whether I manage it or not, it doesn’t really matter.

Q: That’s a good sign. A sign of a good manager. If you leave, everything still works. Right?

Wong: Well, thank you.

It’s very important. Otherwise, I think the power of the media will get lost. I think doing business, making good business is one thing I think is important, but ascertaining the community needs is also very important, so---you are in media, so you don’t need me to tell you that.

Q: So looking back, you’re happy with the choices you made? You’re okay that you didn’t become Ang Lee?

Wong: [laughs] Um---

Q: No regrets?

Wong: No, I don’t have any regret. I’ve been very lucky. I mean, who would have thought that a boy growing up in a poor environment can be where I am? Not that I’m very accomplished, but doing something meaningful. And I think that’s very important. Am I happy? Yeah. Overall I’m happy. We should always aim high.

Q: Well, you’re still young. There’s still time.

Wong: [laughs] The camera lies, okay? It’s right here.

Q: Well, I think you’re probably surprised that you have shared this much with us that you didn’t anticipate to, so---

[laughter]

Wong: Yeah, it’s my whole life history.

Q: But since the camera is still rolling, is there anything else that you want to say, or tell the public, that I haven’t asked you?

Wong: Um, I, no, I think you asked me just about everything.

Q: Okay, well, in that case, then, thank you Tony, very much for your time---

Wong: My pleasure, my pleasure.

Q: And my name is Lan Trinh.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

Chinatown Interview: Interview (zh)

<p> 問﹕今天是2004年4月1日。我現在在Tony Wong百老彙中國電視臺辦公室。Tony,我們先談一下現在。請跟我們講一下中國電視臺以及你在這裏做什麽。</p>
<p>王:中國電視臺開播已有六年了。實際上,我們開始是在皇后區的法拉盛。我們開始只有一個頻道,78台。這是每周七天每天24小時用中文播放的電視臺。兩年之後,Time Warner有了數碼式工作平臺,我們又增加了兩個數碼頻道。現在,我們搬到曼哈頓辦公,因爲我們在那兒有一個廣播電臺,也是用中文廣播的。</p>
<p>我們考慮到把這兩個電臺放在一起會使我們更加充分地利用我們的資源,同時也會使我們能夠更好地爲華人社區服務。</p>
<p>問:好的,我們將用更多的時間談你的工作和中國電視臺在華人社區所起的作用。但首先,我們想瞭解一下你本人的情況。你是否一直對媒體很感興趣?你的背景如何?</p>
<p>王:是的,我一直對媒體很感興趣。首先,我在香港出生長大。我來這裏學習廣播。我在西海岸的Eastern Washington State University獲得學士學位,然後又來這裏讀研究生。在畢業之後,我非常非常幸運在WNBC,4台,找到一份工作。我在NBC做了很多年。除了廣播以外,我從來沒有從事過任何其他職業。不是在電視臺做就是在廣播電臺做,或做媒體廣告。</p>
<p>問:你是哪一年來美國的?</p>

<p> 王:我想是1971年9月1日來這裏的。</p>
<p>問:哇。那是很久之前了。[笑] 你在美國有沒有親戚?</p>
<p>王:沒有。實際上,我去了一個非常小的城鎮,Spokane,Washington。我一個人也不認識。但我非常非常幸運。學校裏有一個我不認識的教授,他們一家人對我非常好,讓我和他們住在一起。所以我剛一來美國就和他們住在一起。他就是做這一行的。他是教新聞學的教授,同時在當地的一家電視臺做主持。所以,可以說,從個人方面和專業方面來講,我在美國一直是在跟媒體打交道。</p>
<p>問:你的家人是一直在香港,還是從中國或其他地方到香港去的?</p>
<p>王:我的家人一直都在香港。甚至我的父母,他們,據我所知,他們說他們是在香港出生的。</p>
<p>問:你沒有英國公民身份嗎?</p>
<p>王:那個時候,我有一本英國護照。但那是否算是英國公民身份,我不清楚。在這裏結婚後不久,我和太太去倫敦旅遊,我當時還有英國護照,但我仍然要申請簽證去倫敦。所以,我想那不應該算是英國公民身份。</p>
<p>問:你當時沒有考慮去英國而不是美國讀書嗎?</p>
<p>王:並不是說我不想,我想那個時候人們都認爲去英國讀書太貴了。我是在一個非常貧窮的家庭長大的。<br>

我能來這裏已經是一個奇迹了。我找到了一家當時只收外州學生三千美元的大學,全包,食宿和學費。所以,這是當時條件的限制,而並非我的選擇。如果你問我想去哪里,我想那個時候我會說倫敦,因爲我覺得英國的學位要比美國的學位值錢。</p>
<p>問:你父母在香港是做什麽的?</p>
<p>王:我母親---,我父親在我八歲的時候去世了。我母親有四個孩子。我母親開一家蔬菜店,一個小店鋪。我基本上是在街上長大的。</p>
<p>問:是勞動階層。</p>
<p>王:沒錯,的確是。</p>
<p>問:在你決定來美國的時候,你是否打算從事媒體這一行?</p>
<p>王:是的,絕對是的。首先,我總是[咳嗽]---,甚至在我小的時候,我總是夢想出國。我想做媒體這一行是因爲那個時候我想成爲一個攝影家,覺得也許那樣我能到世界各個地方旅行,或者拍相片,或者拍電影,但我從來沒有機會實現。但我還是做了與拍攝類似的事情。</p>
<p>問:但是70年代的香港,就電視臺來講,僅僅有幾家---</p>
<p>王:只有一家,TVB。</p>
<p>問:---TVB。是不是像---</p>

<p> 王:那個時候我想還沒有TVB---</p>
<p>問:還沒有ATV嗎?</p>
<p>王:沒有,還沒有ATV。我想只有TVB。像其他小孩子一樣,我想在這裏完成學業後回去做個“出名的”導演或什麽的,但生活總是不盡人意。</p>
<p>問:你的母親有沒有鼓勵你從事這一行?</p>
<p>王:沒有。我想我母親實在是太忙了,並不是說她不照料我們。我認爲她十分盡力地照料我們。爲了支撐這個家庭,她非常努力地工作,所以很多事情必須由我們自己來決定。我自己選的學校,我自己安排了所有的事情。但她認爲我沒有必要離開香港。她認爲只要我努力,機會總會有的。即使在香港,如果我想要做一些事情,只要努力,我也能做到。</p>
<p>但那時,我有其他的想法。我想學東西是一回事情,但到世界的其他地方旅行和體驗是另外一回事情。我想我做了一個非常好的選擇。</p>
<p>問:你是怎樣資助你的生活的?在今天三千美金不算什麽,但在1971年---</p>
<p>王:那仍然是很大一筆錢。我想在我來的第一年---,實際上,在我來之前,我叔叔,我母親的兄弟在開始的時候也有資助我。來這裏之後,我立即在學校找了一份刷盤子的工作,然後差不多在六個月之後,除了刷盤子以外,我在圖書館找了另外一份工。<br>

在學校的食堂刷完盤子之後,我晚上又去附近的一家餐館刷盤子,大概每個星期做兩、三個晚上。</p>
<p>後來,在夏天,我又去做農活。我去Green Giant、Del Monte摘豌豆等。</p>
<p>問:71年,作爲一個華人---你來美國的時候是否講英文?</p>
<p>王:是的。</p>
<p>問:但Spokane,Washington不是一個---</p>
<p>王:這是一個很大的文化衝擊。因爲在電影、雜誌或報紙上,你總是把美國想象成爲紐約。因此,當你下了飛機,到了一個看不到高樓大廈平坦的地方,到處都是莊稼,這是很大的文化衝擊。你到了這裏,這就是美國。我在想,“我是不是來錯了地方?”香港都要比美國現代、先進得多。這就是我當時的想法。你只能從教科書、電影上瞭解這麽多。你必須要到那個地方去親身體驗。</p>
<p>問:你當時覺得很難適應嗎?</p>
<p>王:沒有。因爲我非常喜歡---,甚至在我來這裏之前,小的時候,我就喜歡西方音樂,西方電影,我根本就沒有覺得不適應。但當然也有我不知道的事情,比如人們講的俚語,我不會---,我聽不出來,我不懂。但是,總的來說,我想我還是比較適應這裏的。我適應得還不錯。</p>
<p>問:你學的是什麽專業?</p>

<p> 王:廣播學,電臺和電視。</p>
<p>問:學了四年之後,你的第一份工是做什麽的?</p>
<p>王:沒有,不是四年。實際上,我用三年就修完了。在我來的時候,我已經是二年級的學生了,因爲教育系統是不一樣的,英國和美國的教育系統是不同的。在香港上完高中之後,我又在香港上了兩年的所謂的預科班。因此香港的學生來到這裏時,美國學校都承認相當於一年的學分。</p>
<p>因此當我來的時候,我已經是第二年了。我用了三年完成了學業,然後我想上研究生院。我被堪薩斯,Syracuse和紐約市錄取了。我的教授跟我說,你如果要搞電視這行,只有兩個地方,或者你去洛杉磯,或者你去紐約。我已經在西海岸待了三年了,於是我就來到東海岸。我在布魯克林學院上了兩年。在我畢業的時候,我在WNBC找到一份工作。</p>
<p>問:做什麽?</p>
<p>王:廣播促進協調員。後來,實際上,我晉升得比較快。我做了不到兩年,沒有,我在那兒待了一年,然後我調到另一個部門,叫“銷售交通”,在那兒待了兩年,他們讓我做那個部門的經理。但那實在不是我感興趣的領域。</p>
<p>在那兒做了兩年之後,我在電臺找到一份工作,做廣播運作經理,我在那裏得以見識到電視臺是怎樣一回事。</p>
<p>[同時講話]</p>

<p> 問:聽起來你一直在電視臺的行政方面任職,而不是做具有創造性的一面。</p>
<p>王:是的。</p>
<p>問:你不是一直夢想做導演嗎?</p>
<p>王:[笑]。沒有,還是那句話,我想這是命運。我有一次接到一個校友的電話,不是同班同學,在布魯克林學院他比我早兩年。他問我是否想拍廣告賺一些外快。我說,沒有問題。就這樣,作爲製片助手,我們在唐人街爲中國電視臺的老闆拍了一個廣告。在當時,他已經在曼哈頓的電臺有節目,那還是在74、75年,每天晚上只有幾個小時。我就是這樣---,和我現在的老闆認識的。</p>
<p>在那之後,他辦了一個電視臺,不是全天的,每天只有12個小時,但是在ITFS系統上。是用微波傳送,但設備比較精致。我們在這個樓裏有一個工作室,在一樓,我負責制作。但如果回想起來,我在NBC負責公司管理的時候,因爲我們負責管理,在罷工和發生其他事件的時候,我們就不得不填補這些工作。如果其他公司的工人罷工,攝像機的磁帶操作員不工作,大家都不工作,或者如果導演也罷工,負責管理的就不得不去頂替。我受過訓練,做過導演的工作,我也做過攝影的工作,現在,我利用我的培訓在這裏做中文節目。看上去還比較不錯。我白天賺錢,晚上又製作中文新聞節目。我還做一些雜誌類型的節目,主要是採訪市里一些華裔成功人士。</p>
<p>因此,我從這些工作中獲得很大的成就感。那是具有創造性的一面。但現在又不同了。我和爲我工作的人能夠很好地合作,我們能設計工作室,設計設備,選擇我們想要使用的設備。<br>

而且我們能夠在一起工作,探索我們想要製作的節目來更好地爲公衆服務。</p>
<p>總的來講,工作是很辛苦,但是很有趣。</p>
<p>問:我想再談一談過去。你是在什麽時候決定,“我要待在美國,我不想回香港在TVB工作”。</p>
<p>王:在什麽---[笑]---啊,我,你問了一個非常好的問題。我---,即使我在4台工作的時候,我也時常回香港。我和TVB有很多很多接觸,和不同級別的人都有談過。但從未達成協定。</p>
<p>我只是覺得放棄了的話太可惜了,而且是很大的風險。加上我的年紀已大,我在這裏有孩子,我必須要讓他們的生活有保障,我想讓他們在這裏上學和發展。</p>
<p>問:---在這個職業中的。你認爲你在這裏是否能象一個在香港的外國人成功?</p>
<p>王:這取決於是在哪個領域。這裏有非常成功的華裔廣播員。我是說,我的老闆,他擁有這個公司。我想作爲集團總裁這個公司在美國排行第25。我覺得對於中國人來講這已經是非常成功了。還有另外一個人,John See,Encore的首要人物,加上那些在寫作領域出名的廣播員,例如撰稿人,那都是相當不容易的。導演,我們有很出名的華裔導演製作好萊塢影片。</p>
<p>現在比我剛剛從學校畢業時要容易得多。在那個時候是很困難的。我覺得現在容易得多。我倒不是說非常容易。但至少容易得多。<br>

如果你講歧視,這永遠會有的,只是看你怎樣去看待。</p>
<p>問:你是什麽時候在中視任職的?</p>
<p>王:實際上,我是在六年前加入中視的。</p>
<p>問:那你在NBC和---</p>
<p>王:是的。在我離開NBC的時候,我在一家西班牙語教育電臺找到一份工作。那是一家新開播的電臺,他們把我招過去是有兩個原因,他說,“你已經管理過一家英文電臺,你也管理過中文電臺,現在是西班牙語,對你是一個很好的挑戰”。我想他是正確的。我不講西班牙文,但我還是去做了。我幫他把公司建立了起來,後來又在那裏做了幾年。</p>
<p>在那之後,我又搞了廣播電臺。我和另外一個合夥人在新澤西辦了一家廣播電臺。我又在那裏做了幾年。電臺建立之後,我們又把它賣了,在那個時候我開始在中視工作。</p>
<p>問:你剛開始在中視任什麽職務?</p>
<p>王:在中視?電視臺的總經理。因爲我之前在NBC工作的時候在那裏做兼職。他們知道我能做事情,他們知道我的工作風格,他們知道我的工作能力。</p>
<p>問:這家電臺的經費是從哪里來的?</p>
<p>問:這是一家私有的---</p>

<p> 王:它是私有的。我們和其他組織和公司沒有隸屬聯繫。是私有的,是完全商業的廣播。沒有政治傾向,沒有宣傳,只是廣播。老闆也是在美國上過學的。他是從Syracuse畢業的。</p>
<p>問:他也是華人?</p>
<p>王:是的。我想我們或多或少都有同樣的夢想,做我們想要做的事情,只不過他是一個生意人。</p>
<p>問:中視在哪里廣播?</p>
<p>王:在市里。</p>
<p>問:在Tri-State地區?</p>
<p>王:沒有在Tri-State,在紐約市,和新澤西的一部分。比如在Bergen縣北部,Hudson River沿岸,和史丹頓島,紐約市的五個區,加上Mount Vernon和Westchester縣。</p>
<p>問:在西海岸看不到你的節目?</p>
<p>王:暫時沒有。但我們正在努力,差不多快搞好了。如果能好好規劃的話,我想我們能在一兩個月內開播。</p>
<p>問:現在是24小時播放的頻道?</p>
<p>王:是的。</p>
<p>問:是什麽樣的節目?你們用什麽語言廣播?</p>

<p> 王:我們有三個頻道。一個是類比頻道,兩個是數碼頻道。一個數碼頻道播放電影,24小時電影頻道。那個電影頻道播放香港,臺灣,和中國的電影。除此之外,我想我們是唯一用中文播放好萊塢電影的電影頻道。我想我們是國內唯一一家。</p>
<p>問:是字幕還是配音?</p>
<p>王:配音。用中文配音。其他幾個頻道,我們有新聞,我們有戲劇,我們有公衆事務的節目,教育節目。這些節目來自中國,臺灣,和香港。</p>
<p>問:有多少是在這裏,紐約市,製作的?</p>
<p>王:在紐約市的每天都有。我們製作一小時的國語新聞,半小時廣州話新聞。每星期有金融節目,在華爾街拍攝。還有另外一個公衆事務的節目,是談話節目,採訪社區裏成功的華人。</p>
<p>問:這些是廣州話或者國語的節目嗎?</p>
<p>王:是的。有些節目是雙語頻道,SEP,就是說在家觀看的觀衆可以按SEP鍵,選擇國語或其他方言。</p>
<p>問:你早些時候談到中視沒有任何政治傾向。從我在唐人街的觀察,似乎任何組織,任何華人組織沒有傾向是幾乎不可能的,或者傾向中國或者傾向臺灣。比如,你們的播音員主要是從中國來的,還是從臺灣,從香港,或其他地方?</p>

<p> 王:哪里來的都有。如果你看我們的節目預告,我們有幾個小時CCTV的節目,這是中國的。我們有幾個小時臺灣的節目。實際上,我們較少播香港的節目。並不是我們有意的,而是因爲費用問題。從香港進口節目要貴一些。我們這裏衛星天線24小時監視CCTV,如果我們想要使用任何節目,我們就把它傳送過來。臺灣也是同樣。</p>
<p>我們想有一種理念,即我們是公衆和世界之間的聯絡站。世界是指這裏的主流社會。世界是指香港,中國,和臺灣。這樣他們能夠瞭解他們老家發生的事情。</p>
<p>通過24/7的操作,我想我們有大量的機會展示不同的觀點。對於公衆來講,這會影響他們的意見,我們就是要展示出來。</p>
<p>問:但沒有任何規定或者任何壓力[同時講話]---</p>
<p>王:沒有。實際上,我們是閉路電視。如果只是一般的UHF或VHF,我們需要執照或類似的東西,但這是閉路電視頻道。電臺操作員沒有給我們任何資助或監控。一切都是我們說了算,我們不但要娛樂,而且還要教育公衆和提供資訊。我認爲這是非常非常重要的。你提到社區裏有的人傾向左,有的人傾向右。有時你有一個議程,卻不能提出一個很中立的觀點。我們試圖至少站在能夠提供不同的觀點的立場上,這樣人們才能做出明智的選擇。</p>
<p>問:據我所知,中視不是紐約市唯一的中文廣播電臺。還有很多其他的。你們與其他電臺有什麽區別,你們是不是領頭人?你們是不是最大的?</p>

<p> 王:我認爲這應該由其他人來決定,但我認爲區別在於我們是很獨立的,也是本地的。你說得不錯,有其他一些中文電臺,但他們是香港的機構。他們的母公司或者在香港,或者在中國。還有一些電臺不是全天廣播。但我們經營自己的電臺,就像一個商業廣播電臺一樣。是完全按照我們能向公衆提供什麽類型的節目來獲取商業廣告,贏得用戶,因爲我們只有這樣才能獲得資助,所以我們同其他中文電視臺的運作有很大不同。</p>
<p>問:你是否認爲你們一部分的職責是作爲華人社區和美國主流社會的橋梁?</p>
<p>王:我本人希望如此,從商業角度來看,我們也希望如此。我想這是成功的關鍵。我們服務的公衆或觀衆可能有語言障礙,他們可能看不懂CNN,他們可能看不懂FOX新聞,我想我們願意充當橋梁來填補空缺,讓他們知道這個國家發生了什麽事情,紐約市發生了什麽事情。</p>
<p>我們也爲一些看,或懂英文看得懂CNN或MSNBC,但想知道中國或臺灣新聞的觀衆服務。他們也許會看紐約時報瞭解臺灣選舉,但來自臺灣的新聞會提供給他們一些不同的觀點。</p>
<p>從這個角度來看,我的確認爲我們充當了聯絡或者橋梁的角色,不單單是服務有語言障礙的公衆。我們想爲整個的華人公衆服務,面向主流社會以及他們的家鄉。</p>
<p>問:關於語言障礙,我們知道唐人街的很多人,因爲不講英語,很難融入美國主流社會。<br>

即使不談這些,在近十年福州社區增長最快。但你們電臺和你們的節目,包括電視和無線廣播,都使用廣州話和國語。我沒有確切的數位,但情況如何?誰在爲福州社區服務?如果他們不講英語,不講國語和廣州話,他們要從哪里獲得新聞?我想他們很多人都不識字,因爲他們是從農村來的。那他們是從哪里獲得資訊的?</p>
<p>王:我不知道你的資訊是否準確。你提出一個很好的問題。我們曾一度有和你一樣的想法,試圖找講福州話的廣播員製作,比如每晚三個小時的節目。但我收到的答復是福州人也講國語。他們不一定非要聽福州話。所以我認爲,今後這不會是個太大的問題。我想,其他方言會越來越多被國語取代,而非臺山話,或廣州話。現今這裏的確有相當多廣東人,但最終將會融合。</p>
<p>我們廣州話電臺有很多講國語的聽衆。他們打電話問,我們能不能講國語,我們說沒有問題。然後他們會用國語講他們的觀點,用國語提問題。</p>
<p>問:你也許知道,那不是現實,因爲唐人街非常多元化。沒有一種大家都能溝通的語言。</p>
<p>王:你覺得是這個問題嗎?</p>
<p>問:是的。福州社區的一些人跟我講,他們十分孤立,因爲唐人街很多服務不是面向他們的。於是他們作爲一個社區要爲自己做很多事情,<br>

因爲唐人街沒有面向他們的服務,因爲語言問題。</p>
<p>王:這個我不清楚。我想我們的服務應該面向所有華人,而不是某一個特定的群體。</p>
<p>問:你是否認爲因爲我們都是華人,唐人街是一個團結的社區嗎?</p>
<p>王:作爲整體來講,我認爲是的。總的看來是有進步。在9/11之後,唐人街的生意受到一定影響,但總的來講,仍是很繁榮,肯定要比我剛來紐約的時候好,也就是你剛才所講,一些人創建了很多他們需要的東西。</p>
<p>無論我是否贊同,我覺得這是一件好的事情。至少有人在做事情。傳統上,人們認爲中國人非常被動。現在,他們一旦意識到一個問題,就會做些事情,我想這是朝好的方向發展。</p>
<p>問:讓我們談論一下你提到的9/11。你在百老彙449號,離唐人街只有一條街,離Ground Zero也不遠。作爲一個社區廣播員,你認爲那個事件對這個行業有什麽衝擊?</p>
<p>王:我的確認爲沒有任何人願意看到9/11類似的事件再次發生。但諷刺的是,它的發生使我們更加有影響力。我們是在9/11之前的幾個月開通了無線廣播,中文電臺。在事件發生的時候,正如你所講,由於距離比較近,我們看到發生的一切,而幸運地的是,我們的傳輸器沒有受到影響。我們在廣播。我們播出了新聞,我們告訴人們發生了什麽事情,我們在那段期間充當了非常重要的角色,因爲在那時曾一度連報紙都沒有。<br>

人們都不知道要做什麽,我們把人們調集起來,我的兒子在學校,你認爲他能來,他要坐什麽車,要做些什麽,我能做些什麽?</p>
<p>你早些時候問我是否覺得唐人街很團結。即使不團結,我想也在那個方面有了很大的改進。我們不僅在傳播資訊上起了直接和主要的作用,而且當他們聽到詢問之後,如果我們不知道,人們自己,公衆自己,也會主動打電話提供資訊。我想過去沒有發生過這種事情。</p>
<p>問:你是說華人以那種方式來參與?</p>
<p>王:是的,積極地參與這個過程。比如,我們廣播說,如果你有手套,如果你有水,消防公司或警察局需要這些,等等。然後,他們會去那裏捐獻這些東西。在我們還在廣播這些公衆事務的時候,一位元聽衆打來電話說,“我剛剛去了消防公司XYZ,他們不再需要手套,他們已經有足夠的了。你應該捐獻給另外一個公司”。所以,他們自己的確非常投入全部的過程,而不是坐在那裏讓別人做這些事情。我覺得對於中國人來講這確實是一個非常巨大的進步,因爲在過去,大家都在忙自己的事情,而不去關心別人的事情。</p>
<p>但在這種情況下,他們的確做得非常出色。我們的無線電播音員日夜廣播,有些中餐館做了吃的送給我們。他們也有要求我們幫他們把食物送給警察,警察局或警察局總部,因爲他們確實想要幫忙。他們感到他們是社會的一部分。我在來這裏的30多年來第一次看到這種情景。我確實非常感動。<br>

很多人們感激我們舉行募捐,而且籌集了很多錢,但我想還是要感謝社區的民衆。</p>
<p>他們展示出來他們的確很關心,因爲很多人說,“啊,中國人來到這裏,賺了錢後就回家退休”,等等。但他們展現出來他們的確關心,他們是社會的一部分,他們希望能夠團結起來,他們想要告訴主流社會他們是團結的。我認爲那是一個非常強有力的資訊。</p>
<p>問:你還有談到捐款和錢。我想你是謙虛。你的電臺募捐到一百多萬美元,實在是---</p>
<p>王:是的,一百四十五萬---</p>
<p>問:在這個社區是完全空前的---</p>
<p>王:絕對地---</p>
<p>問:那是怎麽會事?是誰發起的?</p>
<p>王:我的老闆總是表揚我,說是我發起的。不,不是的。我想是社區的民衆發起的。他們打電話給我們。很多人打電話給電臺說,我們想要做些事情,我想開支票,我想捐錢,我要把支票寄到哪里。我們也總給他們提供資訊,“你只要寫‘紅十字會’”。但一些人連寫“紅十字會”都是個問題。他們不知道怎麽拼寫“紅”。你讓他們寫一個完整的地址都非常困難。然後他們就說,“我們能不能把支票送到電臺,你替我們寫”。</p>
<p>問:帶錢來,然後他們---</p>

<p> 王:不是。他們說,“我不知道怎麽寫,我能不能把支票送到電臺,你替我們寫?”如果只是一、兩個,沒有問題,但後來我們收到很多請求。當時,有人提議,“我們能不能把錢給你們?你們來寫,你們來寄。我們信任你們。你們來做”。</p>
<p>我們以前做過募捐。我們公司之前在社區裏做過一些募捐,而且也很成功,但我們不喜歡做,因爲無論你怎樣做,別人都會懷疑你拿了一部分錢---</p>
<p>問:有一些腐敗---</p>
<p>王:是的,裝進你自己的腰包什麽的。因此我們確實不想做。但這種要求非常非常強烈。於是,我說服了我的老闆,我們必須要做些事情,因爲如果有五個電話,四個是要求我們做這個的。當時我們說,“好吧,我們會做,你可以給現金,或者送到電臺,我們會立即給你一張收據,我們不會拿你的錢”。當我們開始的時候,我們想頂多會有五萬、十萬。頭幾天我們超過十萬了,好像是二十萬。然後勁頭越來越足。不斷地有人捐款。當到了一百萬時,很多人打電話稱讚我們說,“啊,你的電臺很好,我們非常支援你的電臺。沒有你們電臺我們不會知道我們做了些什麽,我們發揮了什麽作用,讓我們繼續做,湊到1430。”那個時候我們電臺的頻率是1430。</p>
<p>就這樣,他們做到了。他們不斷寫支票,不斷有支票來,我們非常---在1430我們停了下來。我們說,夠了,我們完成了,我們要把這筆錢捐獻給世貿中心基金和紅十字會。但還有一些錢在郵寄中,所以最後是一百四十五萬美元。[笑]。</p>

<p> 你在談到團結。我認爲這確實顯示如果華人想要顯示他們的團結他們是能夠做到的。他們的確能夠做到。很多人說是我們的功勞,我們收到很多獎賞。但有時當我不得不講些感謝之類的話的時候,我的確認爲這應該是社區民衆的功勞,因爲他們從未做過這樣的事情。從來沒有。</p>
<p>問:這是非常慷慨的,的確令人吃驚,正如你所講,中國人大多時候只是照料自己---</p>
<p>王:是的。沒錯。</p>
<p>問:但你是否覺得有部分原因是因爲唐人街的位置離Ground Zero非常近,好像從結果來看唐人街也受到了攻擊。如果這發生在,比如說Harlem,你認爲華人社區會做出同樣的反應嗎?</p>
<p>王:這是一個悲劇。我想如果事件的影響如此之大,他們是會這樣做的。但到了這個極端,我想你講得沒錯,是因爲距離很近。他們能感受到更多的衝擊,他們將感受到更多,因爲他們在這裏,他們看的到,聞的到。我不知道你在哪里,在那之後的一個月我們都在這裏。味道很難聞。</p>
<p>問:先停一下,我們要換磁帶。</p>
<p>王:好的。</p>
<p>[第一盤磁帶第一面完;第一盤磁帶第二面開始]</p>
<p>問:你剛才談到在9/11之後華人展現的這種出人意料的團結。作爲播音員,很明顯你看到人們真誠地信任你,並且把你當作可靠的資訊來源,因爲每個電臺,每個廣播網,每個媒體都在播放同樣的事件,而這麽多人都看你的節目。你認爲是什麽使你們會有這種地位,<br>

人們都在看你們的節目,而不去其他中文電臺捐獻這許多錢?</p>
<p>王:我想有幾個原因。第一是我們服務社區已有二十六年多了,因此我想我們有華人社區公衆的支援。我認爲這是第一點。我想第二點是媒體的廣播會達到如此多的人,播放非常及時。在那段期間,他們不懂主流報道,又沒有報紙和運輸。如果他們住在皇后區,他們過不來;如果他們住在布魯克林區也過不來。即使他們住在唐人街,他們也可能很難走動,在某種程度上我們成爲了他們的朋友。當你能提供資訊,日日夜夜成爲他們的夥伴的時候,這必然會建立起那種信任。當他們來到這裏時,他們看到是正規的電臺,就是這樣在民衆之間傳開的。我們就是這樣建立起信任的。</p>
<p>同時,我想是通過展現自己的方式來建立起信任的。我們的節目和廣播都製作得非常好,是日日夜夜工作。即使是我們的DJ,他們都知道的,因爲他們聽到相同的聲音。幾乎是24小時不間斷。那是他們從未體驗過的。因爲在過去,你收聽一個節目,然後關掉,或又有另外一個DJ播音,但這是24小時全天候,是同一組DJ播音。我們一些DJ也被感動了,甚至在播音時哭了。我們也有採訪別人,受難者的家屬,他們來到這裏,我們採訪他們。這給聽衆的感觸很大。</p>
<p>因此,我們就是這樣贏得他們的信任的。</p>
<p>問:你是否認爲唐人街在主流媒體上沒有得到足夠的報導,尤其是這裏離Ground Zero很近,而且社區裏有很多居民。</p>

<p> 王:是的,絕對是的,我認爲是的。不---我們募捐了一百四十五萬,對不對?是的,我們得到很多報導,我還能給你舉一個例子。我現在手頭沒有,但我想每天,在那期間,如果有人捐了六萬塊錢報紙上會有很大的地方登他們的照片。但我們有被報導,但沒有象其他族裔那麽顯眼。</p>
<p>問:你是否認爲這是因爲亞裔社區沒有領導者?唐人街確實沒有一位元在這類事件發生時來代表社區的,能夠站出來---</p>
<p>王:[笑] 我想歷史上,作爲一個團體,我們向來不擅長表達。作爲一個團體,我們不是非常---我還不是講有領導或沒有領導,作爲一個團體,我們從來不會積極地表達自己。我們沒有很積極地參與政治活動。</p>
<p>問:你說9/11擡高了你們組織的地位,據我所知是你把支票交給了市長Giuliani---</p>
<p>王:是的。</p>
<p>問:---在市政廳,有了如此的爆光,這意味著什麽?這對今後有什麽影響,節目的改變,還是你對你在社區所負責任的看法?這一事件是否導致了什麽變化?</p>
<p>王:正如我所講,這提高了我們的知名度。我想這使我們能夠在社區更加容易拉廣告贊助。但這更加強調了我們必須要在我們的節目中突出社區的需要,我認爲這是十分重要的。我總是主張提供一個供公衆表達自己言論的節目,在我們的廣播中討論問題,我想這一點我們做得很出色。</p>

<p> 問:如果華人社區能在9/11事件中團結起來,現在已經過去兩年多了,你是否認爲那個短暫的團結使得唐人街有了些積極的改變?你是否覺得民衆,不同的團體之間的交流增多了,或都在一起努力重建唐人街?還是說大家又恢復了原樣,在事件之後又回到原來的狀態?</p>
<p>王:我從未注意過不同的團體在做什麽,因此我很難回答這個問題。但我想這確實顯示出那個事件,或那段時期,華人作爲一個群體,如果他們想要做些事情,他們能夠團結起來實現他們的目標。但是否有人領導,是否有一個團體想領導或表示要領導,我不清楚。我不知道。我對當地的政治還沒有瞭解得這樣仔細,但我感到非常自豪---這已經改變了我的看法。這確實已改變我的觀點。我現在在這裏待了這麽長時間,這的確證明瞭---,我從來沒想到中國人會這麽關注周圍發生的事情。中國人總是要確保他們的孩子得到好的教育,他們要確保在銀行裏有足夠的錢過日子,付房租等等。</p>
<p>但我想現在他們已變得更加關心他們周圍發生的事情。我想這是非常好的。</p>
<p>問:你的電臺是否做---,你們有沒有增加對公衆的廣播,或者增加節目來教育華人社區?</p>
<p>王:是的,我們有。實際上,我剛才談到政治進程,舉民登記。很多人不懂得選舉權利的力量。因此,我們想鼓勵人們去登記。我想前幾個星期我們在這裏舉行了一次活動---,我們出版了一本雜誌,周刊雜誌。是本很流行的雜誌。每個星期六有人過來買雜誌。<br>

有一個星期六我們開始了選民登記。在三個小時內,我們登記了近兩百人。</p>
<p>也許兩百人聽起來是個很小的數目,但你要考慮到大多數人,不是大多數---一些人,他們可能不是永久居民。有些人可能甚至沒有合法身份。能在三個小時內登記兩百個符合條件的選民的確是個不小的數目。從現在到選舉的時候,我們還想多做一些。我想這的確使民衆懂得,如果他們想要做些什麽,如果他們想要得到他們想要的福利或會對他們的孩子有影響的什麽東西,投票是一個十分強大的工具。我們希望能夠實現我們的目標。</p>
<p>問:作爲一個電臺整體,今後你對你們電臺有什麽樣的打算?中國電視還能做些什麽?</p>
<p>王:如果---[笑]---我告訴你,如果我能夠實現,通過提供娛樂和教育公衆,成爲華人社區和主流社會之間的一座橋梁,我想我已經達到了,而且我做得很出色。那是一個持久的過程。你不能停下來。對於娛樂,你能把節目做得更好,你能進口很多節目。但真要弄清楚社區的需要,你必須要選擇特殊的問題,社會問題,關注實事,政府的專案,這些會影響到美籍華人的生活。</p>
<p>我想我們一定要一方面向華人公衆提供資訊,另一方面爲他們提供一個論壇讓他們發表意見,使他們有機會發表意見。</p>
<p>問:關於他們在美國的生活。</p>
<p>王:是的。比如,兩個星期前我們慶祝安裝了新的電視設備,曼哈頓的區長來爲我們剪綵。<br>

隨後我給她寫了封信,感謝她的參與。我同時請她以區長的身份一起製作一個每周一次或每月一次的節目。這就是我的意思,成爲一種聯繫,在社區和---</p>
<p>問:你想讓更多的華人參與。</p>
<p>王:更多的參與。像一些小的事情,正如你所講,他們有時會感到一些團體受到冷落。我覺得作爲一個整體華人有時是覺得自己很孤立。他們可能不知道爲什麽,比如,在這裏停車要罰款。他們會有這種想法。爲什麽要我來清除我房前的樹。</p>
<p>但如果你請求一位政府官員回答這些問題,這類問題,這樣會使問題更加容易受到主流社會的注意。這樣他們會感到別人在注意我們。這就是我們想要充當的角色。</p>
<p>問:你們是否有計劃把你們的電臺推向全國,這樣全美國都能看到?</p>
<p>王:我們希望如此,但那是一個商業決定。我認爲一個電臺的成功,如我先前所講,在於在當地的參與,如在全國範圍內搞,從娛樂角度來看,也許是好的,但對於不同的社區,你仍然必須在當地搞。當我們面向全國時,這會是個挑戰。</p>
<p>問:你是否打算要接受這個挑戰?你要繼續在這個公司做下去嗎?</p>
<p>王:[笑] 我不知道。我想這裏還是很有意思的。但我想有很多在這裏工作人知道我的想法。而且我們正在朝那個目標努力,無論我是否在這裏,無論是否由我來管理,這並不重要。</p>

<p> 問:這是個好的迹象。是一個好的經理的徵兆。如果你離開,一切還會運轉,對嗎?</p>
<p>王:謝謝你。</p>
<p>這是很重要的。否則,我想媒體的力量會喪失的。我認爲,做生意,做好生意是一件重要的事情,但弄清楚社區的需要也是十分重要的,因此---你也是搞媒體的,用不著我跟你講這些。</p>
<p>問:回顧過去,你是否滿意你所做出的選擇?沒有成爲李安你不後悔嗎?</p>
<p>王:[笑] Um---</p>
<p>問:沒有惋惜?</p>
<p>王:沒有,我沒有任何惋惜。我是十分幸運的。誰會想到一個出自貧窮家庭的男孩能夠到我現在的地步?倒不是說我很成功,但我做了些有意義的事情。我認爲這是很重要的。我是否高興?是的。總的來說,我高興。我們應該總是有高的目標。</p>
<p>問:你仍然年輕。還有時間。</p>
<p>王:[笑] 照相機看不出來,是不是?看這兒。</p>
<p>問:我想你自己也許也很驚奇已經跟我們分享了這麽多你沒有預料到的---</p>
<p>[笑聲]</p>

<p> 王:是的,是我一輩子的歷史。 </p>
<p>問:既然攝影機還在拍,你還有什麽我沒有問到,要補充或告訴公衆的嗎?</p>
<p>王:沒有。我想你差不多都問到了。</p>
<p>問:那感謝你,Tony,感謝你的時間---</p>
<p>王:不客氣,不客氣。</p>
<p>問:我是鄭愛蘭。</p>
<p>[採訪完畢]</p>

Citation

“Tony Wang,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 29, 2020, https://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/88959.